3 AM: Liner Notes


If “Around Once” was lugubrious, this one is at
least maudlin.


It’s about insomnia, about suddenly being wide awake at 3 AM
and not being able to get back to sleep again, knowing that you have a long
hard day ahead, and will need every bit of energy you have to get through it,
yet here you are at 3 AM wide awake with the minutes slipping by.  No rest for the wicked, eh?


I hate it.  I have
been insomniac for years.  At one point,
years ago, I used as my soporific cheap wine and was for some time in effect a
situational alcoholic.  But that proved
counter-productive, and  anyway, I
discovered prescription meds.  Before I
couldn’t get to sleep at all.  With the
meds, I got off to sleep OK but started waking up at aberrant hours, like 3
AM.  Now apparently, as a senior citizen,
according to what I have read, I am likely to have only “fragmented”
sleep the rest of my days.


I don’t know why exactly but the song makes me think of a
bit from Freud’s essay on Narcissism:


We should then say:  the sick man withdraws his libidinal
cathexes  back upon his own soul, and
sends them out again when he recovers. 
‘Concentrated is his soul’, says Wilhelm Busch of the poet suffering
from toothache, ‘in his molar’s narrow hole.’


I was aware of something like this, I think.  The first two parts of this song are very much
concentrated in my molar’s narrow hole. 
I tried to break out of the narrow hole in the last part by suggesting
there are other people–poets, lovers, soldiers–doing other things at 3
AM.  But true to form, I return in the
last line to narcissistic grandiosity claiming that, as I lie there, I hear the
world turning round.

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